Hunger Relief Worker
(President & CEO)
Debbie’s cultural roots of dedication to family, community and care for those in need has been the basis of her passion to work in the NonProfit sector. As the daughter of an immigrant Filipino family, she attributes the foundation of her inner strength and character to lessons learned from her family’s journey to the US. Building on their belief that the American Dream can be achieved through hard work, perseverance and caring for others before self, in February 2018, Debbie became the President & CEO of FIND Food Bank, the Desert’s Regional Food Bank.
With over 25 years as an experienced NonProfit professional, Debbie’s both planned and serendipitous path has afforded her experiences at the regional, national and international levels. These include the Director of Programs for the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano- a 16 county food bank in Northern CA, the Compliance and Capacity Development Manager for 37 food banks in the Southwest Sector of the US at the National Office of Feeding America, and the Strategic Programs and Operations consultant for the Global FoodBanking Network and Walmart Mexico y Centro America. There she supported the development of the first national food banking networks in Honduras, Nicaragua, and El Salvador. Debbie also actively engages in the advancement of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI). Recognized for her work in nonprofit management, hunger relief and DEI, over the past year, Debbie has keynoted and led workshops at 3 national conferences in these subjects. From 2015-2017 she served as the National President of the Association of Certified NonProfit Professionals. In 2015, she was featured in the Baylor University Business Review for her “hard-core business acumen” in cross sector management of both Non-Profits and For Profits. In 2017, she was nominee for the Independent Sector’s NexGen award and was presented with a national NonProfit Leadership Award by the NonProfit Leadership Alliance.
Currently, Debbie serves as a Member on the following Boards of Directors: NonProfit Leadership Alliance National Board, the California Association of Food Banks Board, and the Emergency Food and Shelter Program Riverside County Board. She also serves on the Feeding America National Advisory Committee for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, and the State of California Department of Social Services Fresh Look Advisory committee that is tasked with the review of the CA State USDA Emergency Food Assistance Program.
Debbie grew up in Puyallup, WA, relocating to California in 1998 after graduating from college. She is proud to claim both the Pacific Northwest and California as her homes. Her education includes the International Baccalaureate Program, a Bachelor of Arts from Rockhurst University with a double major in Comparative Religion and Sociology with a minor in Human Service, a Masters of Professional Studies in Community and Economic Development from Penn State University, and is a Certified NonProfit Professional (CNP).
Most importantly, Debbie has 2 teenage daughters and Pabu (“Paw-boo”, their one-eyed Shih Tzu) who are the joys of her life. And, because of her passion for feeding people combined with her love for the Arts and all things outdoors (gardening, golfing, hiking, skiing, basking in the sun), the beautiful Coachella Valley makes her feel like she’s “Living the Dream” everyday.